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Fourth Grand Prix win for Nora Gjakova sends Kosovo top of the medal table
6 Apr 2018 19:00
Nora Gjakova of Kosovo won her fourth Grand Prix title in the last 12 months by defeating the returning two-time World Judo Masters bronze medallist Kim Jandi (KOR) in the U57kg final.
Kim JanDi fought only once last year as she earned a silver medal at the Hong Kong Asian Open in December and looked like a judoka who has been absent from the circuit as she exhibited a lack of match sharpness. In her third competition since Rio 2016, Kim squared off against an in-form Tunis Grand Prix gold medallist Gjakova who countered an ouchi-gari for ippon with 43 seconds left on the clock.
In the first semi-final Gjakova defeated two-time Pan American Championships bronze medallist Leilani Akiyama (USA) with 45 seconds left on the clock. Kosovo guaranteed their first medal of the competition when Gjakova threw Akiyama for a waza-ari and pinned down the American with a tate-shiho-gatame to advance to the final.
In the second semi-final Kim bested former world bronze medallist Sabrina Filzmoser (AUT) by the margin of two waza-ari scores to one. Kim countered an osoto-gari with an ouchi-gari for an opening waza-ari before the veteran Austrian restored level terms with a ura-nage. South Korea’s KIM booked her place in the final with a second ouchi-gari.
The first bronze medal was won by Filzmoser who illustrated her ne-waza prowess as the Austrian held down three-time Continental Open medallist Anna Righetti (ITA) for ippon. Filzmoser tangled Righetti into knots on the ground to win and kick-start her Tokyo 2020 bid.
The second bronze medal was won by Belgrade European Open bronze medallist Maayan Greenberg (ISR) who beat 21-time Grand Prix participant Akiyama. Grand Prix newcomer Greenberg made a dream debut by throwing her American rival with 63 seconds left for ippon with a ura-nage as Akiyama came agonisingly close to making her IJF World Judo Tour breakthrough.
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Nicole Stout (USA)
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